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Cuba Takes Caribbean Cup Title With 3-1 Win Against Curacao In Final Game

 Matt Tallarini  |    Oct 8th, 2023 8:30pm EDT

World ranked No. 8 Cuba won their first Caribbean Cup gold medal, beating No. 28 Curacao in the gold medal game 3-1 at Estadio Concepción Pérez Alberto in Fajardo, Puerto Rico.

Cuba won all four games they played at the Caribbean Cup, with rainouts on four of the first five days of the tournament. Cuba’s next event will be the Pan American Games in Santiago, Chile, which start on October 18. 

Curacao went 2-2 at the Caribbean Cup. 

Cuba starting pitcher Yoennis Yera faced 23 batters, throwing six innings with 88 pitches and allowing five hits, one earned run, no walks, and 10 strikeouts.

Curacao started the game with two base hit singles from shortstop Andrelton Simmons in the first pitch of the game to left field and third baseman Raywendley Van Gurp placing a single to left center field right out of the gate. 

The third batter, Darren Seferina grounded out to second, allowing Simmons to score the first run of the game.

Curacao starting pitcher Arlison Rodriguez cruised his way through the gold medal game as he threw 65 pitches to 17 batters, throwing 4.2 innings and allowing four hits, one walk, and striking out three before manager Carlos Pineda called upon relief pitcher Nick Keur in the bottom of the fifth inning. 

During the bottom of the fifth, Cuba tied the score up at one when center fielder Roel Santos hit an RBI single to left field, scoring catcher Andrys Perez. Curacao left fielder Erickson Leonora threw the ball into the infield to third baseman Raywendley Van Gurp, who sent it to Simmons and Seferina, catching Mujica in a rundown for the final out of the inning. 

In the bottom of the sixth, Cuba third baseman Roberto Baldoquin ripped a double down the right field line to lead off the inning. A few batters later,  Arruebarrena lifted a towering two-run home run over the center field wall for a 3-1 lead. 

In the top of the seventh inning, Cuba pitching coach Pedro Lazo and manager Armando Johnson called on relief pitcher Renner Rivero to close out the game. Rivero got Curacao designated hitter Swindley Lint to ground out to short for the final out of the game, and Cuba won their first gold medal at the Caribbean Cup. 

“I’m proud of my team and this is good preparation for the Pan American Games in Chile. I was concentrating on the new pitchers and I got a breaking pitch to damage on to hit it out,” Arruebarrena told World Baseball Network following the game.

Johnson will evaluate his roster for the 2023 Pan American Games during the next few days. 

This will be the second year the Federación Cubana de Béisbol will be operating the Elite League in the winter, which will start on November 7. The winner of the league will not participate in the 2024 Caribbean Series in Miami, after being invited last year to the event during the 2023 tournament in Caracas, Venezuela. 

Cuba will play in the 2023 Pan American Games this month in Cerrillos, Chile, from October 18-28 at the Baseball and Softball Center.

The Pan American Games will have a total of eight nations in the baseball event, including No. 3 Mexico, No. 6 Venezuela, No. 10 Dominican Republic, No. 12 Panama, No. 15 Colombia, No. 24 Brazil, and host nation Chile, which is not ranked in the World Baseball Rankings.

Bronze Medal Game: Puerto Rico 5, United States Virgin Islands 3

Puerto Rico starting pitcher Julio Torres threw four innings, allowing one earned run and three strikeouts as Puerto Rico defeated the United States Virgin Islands 5-3 to take third place at the Caribbean Cup. 

Puerto Rico’s pitching staff combined for allowing six hits, two earned runs, one walk, and six strikeouts. 

United States Virgin Islands starting pitcher Jordan Scott took the loss in Sunday’s bronze medal game, throwing five innings and allowing five hits, three earned runs, and three walks. 

In the bottom of the third inning, Puerto Rico shortstop Jeremy Rivera’s RBI single to center field scored Osvaldo Martinez to put Puerto Rico up 1-0. 

The next batter, third baseman Yadiel Rivera, lofted a sacrifice fly to United States Virgin Islands right fielder Te’Relle George who dropped the ball, allowing center fielder Miguel Ejea to score from third base to extend the lead to 2-0. A few batters later, catcher Kerby Camacho stroked a RBI single to center field and Rivera came in to score for the third run of the game. 

The United States Virgin Islands got on the board when Jahmoi Percival singled to right field, sending Rafael Jackson in to score to cut the lead in half at 3-1. 

Puerto Rico did not look back the rest of the way as they went on to win the bronze medal on home soil, beating the United States Virgin Islands 5-3 at Parque Beisbol Doble-A Emilio Huyuke in Las Piedras. 

Puerto Rico medaled for the second time at the Caribbean Cup while beating Cuba last year in the Bahamas at Andre Rodgers National Stadium in the gold medal game. 

Below are the final results from the four previous Caribbean Baseball Cup tournaments:

2018 – Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic
Gold Medal – Dominican Republic
Silver Medal – Curacao
Bronze Medal – U.S. Virgin Islands 

2019 – Dominican Republic
Gold Medal – Dominican Republic
Silver Medal – Peru
Bronze Medal – U.S. Virgin Islands 

2021 – Willemstad, Curaçao
Gold Medal – Curacao
Silver Medal – Cuba
Bronze Medal – Peru 

2022 – Nassau, Bahamas
Gold Medal – Puerto Rico
Silver Medal – Cuba
Bronze Medal – Curacao 

2023 – Fajardo & Las Piedras, Puerto Rico
Gold Medal – Cuba
Silver Medal – Curacao
Bronze Medal – Puerto Rico 

Results by the Cuban National Team in International Events  
List via Cuban Baseball Digest 

World Baseball Classic
2006 – 2nd
2009 – 6th
2013 – 5th
2017 – 7th
2023 – 4th

Gold – 1992, 1996, 2004
Silver – 2000, 2008

Baseball World Cup
Gold – 1939, 1940, 1942, 1943, 1950, 1952, 1953, 1961, 1969, 1970, 1971, 1972, 1973, 1976, 1978, 1980, 1984, 1986, 1988, 1990, 1994, 1998, 2001, 2003, 2005
Silver – 1941, 2007, 2009, 2011
Bronze – 1944, 1951

Intercontinental Cup
Gold – 1979, 1983, 1985, 1987, 1989, 1991, 1993, 1995, 2002, 2006
Silver – 1981, 1997, 1999

Pan American Games
Gold – 1951, 1963, 1971, 1975, 1979, 1983, 1987, 1991, 1995, 1999, 2003, 2007
Silver – 1967
Bronze – 2011, 2015

Central American & Caribbean Games
Gold – 1926, 1930, 1935, 1938, 1950, 1966, 1970, 1974, 1978, 1986, 1990, 1993, 1998, 2006, 2014
Silver – 1982, 2018, 2023
Bronze – 1946

Goodwill Games 
Gold – 1990

Honkbal Haarlem Week 
Gold – 1972, 1974, 1996, 1998, 2012
Silver – 1990, 2000, 2004, 2006, 2008, 2010
Bronze – 1978, 2002

World Port Tournament
Gold – 1985, 1987, 1995, 2001, 2003, 2014, 2015

Caribbean Cup 
Gold – 2023 
Silver – 2021, 2022